After more than a decade starring in countless Food Network cooking shows — Brunch at Bobby’s! Christmas at Bobby’s! Thanksgiving at Bobby’s! ARBOR DAY AT BOBBY’S!? — Bobby Flay is branching out into TV genre that several other celebrity chefs have dabbled in, to varying degrees of success: the “let’s make my kid famous” half hour.
On his new show The Flay List, premiering on the Food Network tonight at 10:30 p.m. EST, Bobby will tour his hometown of New York City with his 23-year-old daughter Sophie, eating signature dishes at their favorite restaurants. It basically sounds like a riff on his long-running series The Best Thing I Ever Ate, but with Sophie offering half of the recommendations and Bobby cracking as many dad jokes as he possibly can. Although this is certainly Sophie’s biggest TV gig to date, she’s no stranger to the camera: She previously appeared with her dad on the Rachael Ray Show and Beat Bobby Flay, among other shows, and she also currently works as a “community journalist” for ABC 7 in Los Angeles.
The trend of celebrity chefs bringing their kids on camera dates back at least three decades. In the ’90s, Jacques Pepin briefly had a PBS show with his daughter called Cooking With Claudine, and the legendary chef has also recently started cooking in front of the camera with his granddaughter, Shorey. A decade ago, Martha Stewart’s daughter, Alexis, had a series on the Fine Living Network called Whatever, Martha where she mocked her mom’s recipes with the help of a friend. And Rick Bayless’s daughter, Lanie, has made semi-regular appearances on his show Mexico, One Plate at a Time over its decade-plus run.
But if anything, Bobby’s new show more closely resembles the more recent family-centric TV projects from Guy Fieri, who starred with his college-age son, Hunter, in a series called Guy and Hunter’s European Vacation, as well as a thoroughly awesome Shark Week 2018 special called Guy Fieri’s Feeding Frenzy. Gordon Ramsay has also brought his daughter, Matilda, into the family business via the show Matilda and the Ramsay Bunch, and he helped launch his son Jack’s TV career by producing a documentary series featuring the younger Ramsay called Born Famous. In addition to giving their kids TV exposure, these shows also help showcase the softer sides of these celebrity chefs — and tonight’s episode of The Flay List should be no exception. Sophie recently told Entertainment Weekly, “It is so special, and we are very close, and we are playful with each other, and so it’s a different side of him that not a lot of people I think have really been able to see.”
On tonight’s premiere episode of The Flay List, Bobby and Sophie will be exploring NYC’s taco scene, with stops at Chelsea Market’s Los Tacos No. 1 and Oxomoco in Brooklyn. And who knows? If the show is a hit, perhaps Sophie will get to battle other celebrity chef progeny in Iron Chef: Nepotism Smackdown.
• The Flay List [Food Network]
• All Coverage of Food TV [E]